2013 Suzuki RM-Z 250 TestIf you set a 2013 Suzuki RM-Z250 next to last year’s edition, you can’t see much difference. The only things you will notice are the yellow front number plate and the black rear fender on the 2013. Neither of these, are very appealing.
However, once you start to dig into the 2013 RM-Z250, you’ll find many updates. The biggest change is the switch to the new Showa SFF (Separate Function front Fork). The SFF uses only one spring in the right leg and the left leg controls the damping. These forks where only previously used on the Kawasaki KX250F.The result is a lighter fork that is easier to work on. Out back, the Suzuki RM-Z250 has a rear new linkage and the shock received new valving. Frame has reshaped to alter flex characteristics, as well as steepen the steering head angle from 30.2 degrees to 29.2 degrees.On the motor side, the piston is three-percent lighter, while also having added reinforcing ribs under the piston skirt. Piston pin is shorter and lighter. Both the intake and exhaust cams are new as well.In the past RM-Z transmissions have been known to not hold up well. Virtually every part in the tranny is new. While working over the transmission, they improved the overall shifting of the bike. Outside the motor the radiators are new for increased cooling, muffler, and air boot have been altered for increased power. Taking the Suzuki out on the track for the first time is a pleasant experience. The seat is nice and soft, and the ergonomics of the bike are comfortable for a variety size of riders. Anybody should be able to jump on one and feel comfortable on the first lap.When you hit that first berm or rut, it’s obvious this bike likes to cut an inside line, and it does so better than any other 250F we have tested – tightening up the geometry worked. If you miss your line in a turn on this bike, it’s all on you – the RM-Z250 likes to carve.At the other end of the spectrum the 2013 RM-Z250 can get busy and experience some serious headshake on the faster sections of the track – a downside to a steeper fork angle. Dropping the forks down in the triple clamps (raising the front end) helps a little, but it still isn’t as stable as we would like.On the suspension side we have no complaints. Small braking bumps, acceleration chop out of turns, or large hits when flat landing jumps where all handled well on the RM-Z250. It is also properly balanced, front-to-rear.The DOHC four-valve EFI motor isn’t as easy to start as we think it should be. Compared to the Suzuki RM-Z450, the 250 doesn’t start as easy or consistently. We would say it is more like a four stroke of a couple years ago. Its not a problem, just not the easy starting we have grown a custom to in the fuel injection era.Power-wise the Suzuki is nothing to get excited about good or bad. The power is long and smooth with no flat spots, but it just doesn’t pull hard or offer much excitement anywhere in the power band. This is especially the case when comparing it to the class-leading motor of the Kawasaki KX250F, which that pulls hard from bottom-to-top. Shifting is smooth, and we didn’t experience any missed shifts. Clutch-pull is light, and doesn’t fade, when abused while training on the endurocross track.The Suzuki does have some nice standard features like Renthal fat bars, Dunlop Geomax MX51 rubber and Excel rims. Its also nice that the manufactures have been making their bikes quieter over the last few years and the Suzuki did have a nice quiet sound while still having enough bark to let you know you are riding a real bike.The 250cc four-stroke class has become the most popular at any local motocross track. Not only does it appeal to the young up-and-coming riders who used to ride 125cc two strokes, but also to the older riders who like the easy to ride characteristics of the 250cc four-stroke motor over the larger, harder to ride, 450cc thumpers. With that, the manufactures are all fighting for the top spot in the top selling MX class.As a platform for professional supercross racers, the 2013 Suzuki RM-Z250 has proven its mettle with Jason Anderson at the controls of his Rockstar Energy Suzuki RM-Z250. After six rounds, Anderson (pictured, along with Ryan Sipes) is in the top five in the standings, with two podium finishes and he has run up front.The 2013 Suzuki RM-Z250 is a competitive mount in this tough class. The power is friendly, if not as strong as we would like. If your local track favors corners over speed, you’ll like the way it turns.Chris Cullins is the owner of TEC-Racing.com.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.